The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

What's Your Energy IQ?

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 2, 2009

Over the last few days, we've asked you a number of energy-related questions about topics such as energy demand, supply, taxes and oil company ownership. Now it's truly time to put your knowledge to the test:

What's Your Energy IQ? You can use the widget below to answer all the survey questions, and you can watch the Energy IQ videos to see how other people answered the questions.

The third annual Energy IQ survey, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute (API) by Harris Interactive®, comes as a new administration and Congress are pursuing energy and climate policies that will determine America's economic competitiveness for years to come.

In comparing the new results to surveys from previous years, Harris Interactive found that Americans are more aware of how current policies limit domestic oil and natural gas production, but they also continue to subscribe to common misperceptions about how the industry operates and the energy we'll need in the future.

So how did YOU do? We encourage you to comment to this post and let others know how you scored. Also, you can easily share and embed the widget, encouraging others to test their energy knowledge.


Update on July 7, 2009: you can also listen to an episode of Energy Tomorrow Radio using the player below.


00:17 API has released the third annual Energy IQ Survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, which asked Americans a series of questions about energy.

00:45 Between April 30 and May 8, 1,298 people over 18 years of age were surveyed online.

01:02 The survey comprised 20 questions on general energy knowledge.

01:21 Each of the questions had four choices, plus a "not sure" option.

01:41 An example of a survey question: "In 2008, what percent of the oil the U.S. consumed came from Persian Gulf Countries?" Answer choices were, "Less than 15 percent. 15 to 30 percent. 31 to 45 percent. 46 to 60 percent. Not sure." The correct answer is, "Less than 15 percent of the oil the U.S. consumed came from Persian Gulf Countries." Only 7 percent of the general public was able to answer the question correctly.

02:25 The level of energy knowledge among the general public is low. The survey's most surprising result was the misinformation people have about the energy industry--often, survey participants would pick the further answer from the correct answer.

03:04 Compared to surveys from previous years, the 2009 results were consistent. Although, in 2008 22 percent of people were able to correctly identify that crude oil accounts for 61 to 80 percent of the price of gasoline at the pump, opposed to only 15 percent in 2009.

03:57 Fifty-one percent of respondents underestimate the amount of fossil fuels that America will need in 2030.

04:24 Fifty-three percent of respondents believe that Saudi Arabia is the country that supplies the most oil to the United States, when in fact it's Canada. Only 12 percent of respondents knew that Canada supplied our nation with the largest percentage of its imported oil.

04:49 About 36 percent of respondents underestimate the amount that oil companies pay in taxes.

06:13 The survey was commissioned by API to gauge American's knowledge about energy.

06:36 Take the Energy IQ quiz.


Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.